Georgia Senate Runoff Elections – How YOU Can Help!


The great state of Georgia – a place known for its tasty food, fantastic musicians and bands, and legendary Civil Rights leaders – is now also a state that played a key role in electing Joe Biden as President and repudiating the cruel and corrupt Trump administration. But the election is not over in Georgia! Both the regular Senate election and a special Senate election held on November 3rd ended with no clear majority. And so there will be TWO runoff elections on January 5, 2021.

If the stakes weren’t high enough, the United States senate is hanging in the balance. If both Democratic candidates win their Senate runoff elections the Democratic Party and the Republican Party will each have 50 Senators each. Vice President Kamala Harris will the tiebreaker on any votes that go 50-50. So it is absolutely crucial that anyone who cares about COVID-19 relief, healthcare, climate change, the rights of Black people and immigrants, and other progressive issues to focus on helping the Democratic candidates win their elections in the Georgia Senate runoffs.

If you live in Georgia, and you will be 18-years-old or older on January 5, 2021, make sure to register to vote or confirm your registration by December 7, 2020. Make sure you have the proper ID, and if you’re not sure Spread the Vote can help you out. You may request an absentee ballot starting November 18, 2020, and early voting will begin on December 14, 2020. More information will be available at Georgia’s My Voter Page.

Regardless where you live you can support the two Democratic candidates with donations directly and sign up to volunteer at their web pages:

There are also several grassroots groups organizing voters within Georgia who can use donations and volunteers to help bring about Democratic victories:

Additionally, They See Blue Georgia created a spreadsheet of BIPOC-led voter outreach organizations in Georgia. And there is a presentation, Volunteering for Georgia’s US Senate runoffs on Jan 5, 2021, with a whole lot more information.

The Civics Center is also organizing a campaign to send postcards to young people in Georgia encouraging them to register for the first time.

Please share this post widely on your social networks. If you know of any other resources to help people participate in this election, please let me know and I’ll update this post.

Podcasts of the Week Ending October 17


Throughline :: The Electoral College

The history of why the United States has a backwards system of electing Presidents and how it has been used to promote slaveholding and racism throughout history.

Planet Money :: Caste Comes to Silicon Valley

The constitution of India officially outlawed the ancient caste system in 1947, but discrimination against people based on caste persists in India and has followed Indian immigrants to the US.

Code Switch :: Let’s Talk About Kamala Harris

Evaluating Kamala Harris’ record on criminal justice as a prosecutor and California attorney general.

The War on Cars :: America’s Love Affair With Cars

Efforts to fight the deleterious effects of the automobile are often countered with the statement that Americans have a love affair with their cars. This podcast traces the origin of this term in an industry promotional program starring Groucho Marx and questions the validity of the “love affair.”

RUNNING TALLY OF PODCAST OF THE WEEK APPEARANCES

Massachusetts: It’s Time to VOTE!!!


Today it is exactly four weeks until Election Day on November 3rd, 2020. It’s an exciting and terrifying time, but I remain hopeful. Voting alone will not help restore democracy and help make our country that works for all its people – advocacy, activism, and protest will be necessary as well – but I believe the results of the 2020 election can give us a big push in the correct direction.

I need my fellow Massachusetts citizens to do the following things:

Please share this post widely on social media and feel free to contact me if you need help figuring how to navigate the electoral system in you city or town.  I’m pretty good at tracking those things down.

2020 Election Challenge: Targeting the Senate


A few months ago I challenged my readers to work toward making the 2020 election about more than defeating Trump and electing Biden, but to work on getting Democratic control of both houses of Congress as well as removing Republican governors and taking over state legislatures from the GOP.  In this post I am going to focus on the elections for the US Senate.

You want to hear a hot take on how important I think the Senate elections are this year: The future of the United States will be better off if the Democrats take control of the Senate and Trump wins than if Biden wins but the Republicans retain the Senate.  Luckily, that’s not a choice we’ll be forced to make because if we can get a strong turnout of people voting for Democratic candidates to the Senate, it will almost certainly means that Joe Biden will win the Presidency as well.

This year there are 35 Senate seats up for election this year and 23 of them are currently held by Republicans.  That means there are 23 opportunities to flip a seat to the Democrats and create a strong majority in the Senate.  Below I’ve listed the names of Democrats running for the Senate with links to their campaign website.  Your mission is to:

  • Vote for the candidates running in your state
  • Adopt one or more candidates running in another state
  • Donate and/or volunteer for the campaigns of these candidates
  • Help people register to vote and advocate for your state to support things like automatic registration or same-day registration
  • Make sure that everyone is able to vote and have their vote counted by advocating for vote by mail, early voting, and sufficient polling locations
  • Volunteer on election day to help at polling locations and/or observe potential irregularities

If you are short on money or time, I’ve marked 15 senate elections with in asterisk where there is a very good chance of Democratic victory and/or removing a particularly odious Republican from the Senate.

 

2020 DEMOCRATIC PARTY CANDIDATES FOR US SENATE

* Alabama: Doug Jones
* Alaska: Al Gross
* Arizona: Mark Kelly
Arkansas: Dan Whitfield (a progressive independent candidate because the Democrats didn’t run a candidate)
* Colorado: John Hickenlooper
Delaware: Chris Coons
* Georgia (regular): Jon Ossoff
Idaho: Paulette Jordan
Illinois: Dick Durbin
* Iowa: Theresa Greenfield
* Kansas: Barbara Bollier
* Kentucky: Amy McGrath
* Maine: Sara Gideon
Massachusetts: Ed Markey
Michigan: Gary Peters
Minnesota: Tina Smith
* Mississippi: Mike Espy
* Montana: Steve Bullock
Nebraska: Chris Janicek
New Hampshire: Jeanne Shaheen
New Jersey: Cory Booker
New Mexico: Ben Ray Luján
* North Carolina: Cal Cunningham
Oklahoma: Abby Broyles
Oregon: Jeff Merkley
Rhode Island: Jack Reed
* South Carolina: Jaime Harrison
South Dakota: Dan Ahlers
Tennessee: Marquita Bradshaw
* Texas: MJ Hegar
Virginia: Mark Warner
West Virginia: Paula Jean Swearengin
Wyoming: Merav Ben-David

Two states will hold non partisan primary elections held on November 3, 2020. 

* Georgia (special)
Special Election: November 3, 2020: Raphael Warnock
NoteAll candidates will be on the same ballot regardless of party affiliation.  If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election, to be held on January 5, 2021

Louisiana
Nonpartisan Blanket Primary: November 3, 2020:  Antoine Pierce and Adrian Perkins appear to be two of the strongest candidates out of 15 candidates running including 5 Democrats and 7 independents!
Note: All candidates will be on the same ballot regardless of party affiliation. If no one candidate wins a majority of the vote in the primary, there will be a runoff election on December 5, 2020.

2020 Election Challenge


Today is the first Tuesday in May, which means that we are SIX MONTHS AWAY from the first Tuesday in November, Election Day!  On November 3, 2020, American voters will participate in one of the most important elections in the nation’s history.

At this point the Democratic Party has already decided that their candidate for this vital Presidential election will be Joe Biden.  I have my reservations about Biden, in that I think he does not have the qualities to be a good President to address the many crises our nation is facing.  But even more so, I’m terrified that his weakness leave him more vulnerable that other potential Democratic candidates to losing the election to Donald Trump!  Nevertheless, the Democrats have made their decision, and they will now have to convince voters in America’s disaffected voters that it will be worth their effort to vote for Biden.

What I want to focus on today is the other elections that will take place on November 3rd.  I often note that the election of Presidents is given inordinate attention while elections for Congress, state, and local officials are widely overlooked.  These elected officials often hold the power that influences our daily lives but it gets very little attention at election time. Consider that Trump administration would not be able to cause nearly as much damage as they have had they not been supported by a Republican majority in the Senate (and in fact, Trump’s presidency may have been ended by now without them).  Similarly, Barack Obama, who I believe tried to do the right thing most of the time, had his hands tied for most of the Presidency by Republican majorities in both house dead set on blocking his every effort.

With this in mind, I would like to get people enthusiastic about supporting  Democratic (or progressive independent) candidates for Congress, state and local elections. Here is my challenge to you:

  • find out who is running in your state for the Senate, House, Governor, and State Legislature.
  • after researching the candidates, pledge to vote for the Democratic/progressive candidate you like most and help their campaign in any way you can (donations, telling your friends & family, sharing campaign information across social media, canvassing, volunteering at the polls, etc.)
  • if there is no election for Senate and/or Governor in your state this year, chose at least one candidate from the lists below to “adopt” and support like they were your own

A good resource for learning about the candidates who are running and dates of primary elections is Ballotpedia. I’m also available to help with research if you want to leave me a comment.

Senatorial Elections

States where Republican incumbent is running for reelection:
NOTE: The incumbent Senators from these states all voted to acquit Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of congress in relation to the Ukraine scandal. All but one of these incumbent Senators (Lisa Murkowski of Alaska) voted to confirm the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh despite credible testimony of his committing sexual assault. These irresponsible, partisan-driven votes of the Republican incumbents (and many others) need to be front and center in the campaign against them.

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Georgia (special election)
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • West Virginia

States where Republican incumbent is retiring:

  • Kansas
  • Tennessee
  • Wyoming

States where Democratic incumbent is at risk of having seat flipped to Republican:

  • Alabama

Gubernatorial Elections

States with Democratic incumbent running for reelection:

  • Delaware
  • North Carolina
  • Washington

States with Republican incumbent running for reelection:

  • Indiana
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

State with no incumbent running:

  • Montana (current Democratic governor is term-limited)
  • Utah (current Republican governor is retiring)

UPDATED (5/6/2020):  I saw this relevant information on Twitter regarding state legislatures.  If you live in these states make sure to get involved!


We have six months to carry out a comprehensive, nationwide campaign to clear out the Republican deadweight and work toward creating a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Please share this post widely so as many people as possible can get involved.

Massachusetts Primary Elections – VOTE EARLY! VOTE NOW! JUST VOTE!


Hey there fellow Bay Staters!  It’s Primary Election time in Massachusetts.  You can vote early NOW and every day until Friday, February 28.  Details for the City of Boston are below and or you can check on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website for Early Voting opportunities in your community: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/EarlyVotingWeb/EarlyVotingSearch.aspx.

Keep in mind that Early Voting is available for all voters at specified locations  in your community that will not necessarily be your designated polling location.

If you’re not able to participate in Early Voting, or you’re a traditionalist, make your way to your local polling location to vote on Super Tuesday: March 3, 2020!

This excellent tool on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ website will help you 1) Find out where you can vote on the Primary Election Day on March 3, 2020 and 2) Show you who is on the ballots for your district.  Registered voters may chose to vote on ONE of the four party ballots: Democratic Party, Republican Party, Green-Rainbow Party, or Libertarian Party.

https://www.sec.state.ma.us/wheredoivotema/bal/MyElectionInfo.aspx

Make a plan to vote! Bring your family, friends, and co-workers! Let’s make this election reflect the will of the people!

TOMORROW 9/24: Boston Preliminary Election #BosPoli #GOTV


All my readers who live in the city of Boston, please set aside the time to vote in the Boston Preliminary Election at your local polling place between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Candidates are running for Boston City Council for At Large offices and in Districts Five, Seven, Eight, and Nine.  The other districts are sadly uncontested.  Your vote tomorrow will help decide which candidates advance to the General Election on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.  If you need help determining were to vote use this handy online tool.

Municipal elections are often overlooked in Boston allowing candidates who don’t represent the best interests of Boston’s people to gain off.  Please take the time to participate and make sure our city gets the best representation possible.  If you’re not sure who to vote for – and lord knows the local news media doesn’t help – here are some resources I’ve found with the candidates’ statements on various issues (note: I’m sharing these for informational purposes and not as an endorsement for any candidates).

If you find this post useful, please share it on social media, and encourage everyone you know to Get Out The Vote!

Podcasts of the Week Ending March 16th


Twenty Thousand Hertz :: The Booj

In a world where every movie trailer sounds exactly like every other movie trailer, how does one make their trailer stand out?  The story of The Booj and other elements common to the blockbuster movie trailer formula.  Confession:  I love the sound of The Booj, but can live without the cheezy song covers.

Radiolab :: Asking for Another Friend

This episode investigates several mysteries, including people who don’t clean up their dog’s poop, racist dogs, and why the New York City subway plays the opening notes of a song from West Side Story.

Re:Sound :: Lefty Disco

The first story is the oddly fascinating story of how discrimination against Black and gay people, a radio shockjock, and a baseball double-header collided to become a disastrous promotional event and The Night That Killed Disco.

Best of the Left :: Democratizing our presidential elections (National Popular Vote) ​

The Electoral College is anti-democratic and despite what its supporters say does not help smaller states.  This episode discusses alternatives such as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, replacing “winner take all” with proportional allotments, and eliminating the Electoral College entirely.


Running tally of Podcast of the Week appearances:

Podcasts of the Week ending November 10


Planet Money :: The Seattle Experiment  and Hot Dog Hail Mary

What if you could give more money to politicians running for office, and spend less money getting food at a NFL game?  Two different Planet Money podcasts focus on experiments, one in Seattle where voters were given money they could donate to their candidate(s) of choice and one in Atlanta where the Falcons are slashing concessions prices.  Find out how these challenges to traditional economics worked out – or didn’t – by listening to these podcast episodes.

RadioLab :: Tweak the Vote

RadioLab explores how ranked choice voting makes elections more representative of the people and more civil in practice.

99% Invisible :: Devolutionary Design

The story of how an image of legendary golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez ended up being used for the cover of legendary rock band Devo’s first album.

 

MASSACHUSETTS: VOTE NOVEMBER 6th (or earlier)!!


Once again, I’m sending out a message to my fellow Bay Staters to get out and vote in the upcoming elections.  A Senate seat, congressional representatives, the governorship, and numerous state and local positions are up for the vote this year. We will will also be voting on three ballot measures.

  • Make sure to Register to Vote by October 17th!!!!
  • Visit My Election Information to see the candidates on the ballot in your district and find out where your polls are located.
  • Consider taking advantage of Early Voting. Early voting in Boston runs from October 22nd to November 2nd, and will be available in other Massachusetts’ communities as well.

When you get to the polls, please consider voting for Jay Gonzalez for Governor.  He is a progressive and will advocate for bold ideas to challenge great amount of inequality in the Commonwealth.  He is focused on supporting public education, repairing and expanding public transportation, improving healthcare (and cutting healthcare costs), and addressing serious environmental problems that contribute to climate change. As the national political scene deteriorates, it is ever more important that “blue states” mobilize to do what needs to be done to protect our people locally and be a model of progressive values.

Which is why Massachusetts definitely cannot continue under a Republican governor.  Charlie Baker is often presented as a moderate and is inordinately popular with Massachusetts Democrats, but he is still a Republican whose conservative ideology benefits the wealthy at the expense of the most vulnerable. Baker has refused to take a stance against the Trump Administration’s worst offenses, and in fact continues to fund raise money for Republicans that is funneled to Trump.  His “reform before revenue” plan for the MBTA has done nothing but allow public transit to further deteriorate.  His Board of Education chair Paul Sagan made illegal campaign contributions to efforts to privatize public education.  And Baker used taxpayer money to make a deal with General Electric, a company whose stock value is crashing and may never build their headquarters in Massachusetts, but will still cash in on Baker’s sweet deal.  Baker is not good for Massachusetts, don’t vote for him!

I also encourage you to vote YES on all three ballot measures:

  • Question 1 – Sets limits on the number of patients a nurse can be assigned to.  It is important that patients receive quality care and attention in Massachusetts’ hospitals and that nurses are not overextended.  I know a lot of nurses – some of the hardest working and compassionate people I know – and they all say to vote YES ON 1.
  • Question 2 – Creates citizens commission to advocate for changes to the U.S. Constitution regarding political spending and corporate personhood. It’s vital to begin to reverse the trend toward oligarchy and make our state and national government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Vote YES ON 2.
  • Question 3 – Maintains a 2016 a law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. We shouldn’t ever have to vote on the basic human rights of any group of people, but since this question is on the ballot, I implore you to defend equality, dignity, and livelihoods for transgender people by voting YES ON 3.

Happy voting! Let’s all get out and vote for a better future for Massachusetts!